Veterans: Handforth

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:00 am on 6 September 2023.

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Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Conservative, Tatton 11:00, 6 September 2023

My hon. Friend is right that they need a safe home. That is part of the connection to the local community, before they even leave the armed forces. What is that signposting? Who are those local groups? That of course includes, where do they sleep? Where is that roof over their head?

Apart from the anti-discrimination policies in the armed forces covenant, there are concerns about the wording. It is not definitive enough, such as when a local authority or business is tasked with supporting a veteran. The wording is “where possible”. That means there is no obligation, and veterans often feel that they are “palmed off”—in their words—to charities or other voluntary bodies, because there is not a sufficiently worded obligation in the current form. Will the Minister talk a little more about that wording and that obligation that I know we would all like to see?

Finally, I come to the armed forces compensation scheme. Those who had applied and qualified felt the experience was of delays and complicated process. Will the Minister give an update on how that process will be made smoother and faster? I know we all believe in honouring our veterans, and that means ensuring that when they leave the armed forces they can reintegrate into civilian life in a smooth, coherent, supported way, so they do not feel abandoned and lost. The one way that can be done is to provide the assistance they so rightly deserve.